THE government has been urged to use more gentle persuasion to get the Penans to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Society for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak (Scrips) secretary-general Michael Jok said any attempt to force the community will only reinforce their deep rooted distrust of authorities.
“After decades of losing their jungles to logging activities, the Penans mostly do not trust the government authorities.
“If there is any attempt by politicians or government agencies to force them to be vaccinated, the Penans will simply run into the jungles to hide,” he was quoted by The Vibes news portal.
He added that many natives living in remote settlements were still unaware of the severity of Covid-19.
Jok said state authorities should use local radio channels to provide information about Covid-19 in Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, and other ethnic languages.
It was previously reported that the coronavirus had spread to settlements in Long Win, Long Lamai, Long Luteng, Long Latie, and in Mulu National Park.